View Through a Telescope Classroom Activity

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1 View Through a Telescope Classroom Activity The Classroom Activity introduces students to the context of a performance task, so they are not disadvantaged in demonstrating the skills the task intends to assess. Contextual elements include: an understanding of the setting or situation in which the task is placed, potentially unfamiliar concepts that are associated with the scenario; and key terms or vocabulary students will need to understand in order to meaningfully engage with and complete the performance task. The Classroom Activity is also intended to generate student interest in further exploration of the key idea(s). The Classroom Activity should be easy to implement with clear instructions. Please read through the entire Classroom Activity before beginning the activity with students to ensure any classroom preparation can be completed in advance. Throughout the activity, it is permissible to pause and ask students if they have any questions. Resources Needed: Chart paper, white board, or chalkboard Marker or chalk Paper for each pair/group Pencil o Students who need an accommodation may use their preferred tool for writing. Some method of displaying ancillary materials 1 Learning Goals: Students will understand the context of the key concepts related to the topic: o The solar system is made up of planets, moons, and objects in space (e.g., meteors, comets). o Astronomers use tools like telescopes and satellites to study objects in space. Students will understand the key terms: Astronomers: scientists who study the universe Telescopes: tools astronomers use to help them see objects that are far away Satellites: equipment that orbits around a planet or the moon; cameras are often attached to satellites so pictures can be taken of faraway places Note: Definitions are provided here for the convenience of facilitators. Students are expected to understand these key terms in the context of the task, not memorize the definitions. 1 Facilitators can decide whether they want to display ancillary materials using an overhead projector or computer/smartboard, or whether they want to produce them as a handout for students.

2 View Through a Telescope Classroom Activity [Purpose: The facilitator s goal is to help students understand what makes up the solar system and the tools that astronomers use to study objects in space. This task will allow students to be active participants as they further explore the concept of the solar system.] Note: The following section can be modified to accommodate various teacher-student interaction types such as a teacher-led discussion with the entire class, a teacher-student discussion for remote locations with a single student, or small groups. [Divide students into groups of 3-4.] Facilitator says: Today, we will get ready for the View Through a Telescope Performance Task that is about space. Let s start by thinking and talking about what you know about space. You will have two minutes to discuss with your group the question that I will write. [Have paper and pencils available for students to record their ideas if they wish.] [Write and say the discussion question on the chart paper, white board, or chalkboard.] Discussion question: What is the solar system? [Give the students approximately two minutes to discuss.] Facilitator says: When I call on your group, someone should share with the class what your group discussed. [Call on student volunteers to share their ideas.] It is made up of planets, moons, comets, dust, and gas. The sun is a star in the solar system. Facilitator says: These are great ideas about the solar system. Now I want you to focus more on what makes up the solar system. You will have three minutes to discuss the next question. [Write and say the following discussion question on the chart paper, white board, or chalkboard.] Discussion question: What do you know about the moon, objects found in space, and planets? [While students are discussing, create a bubble map on the chart paper, white board, or chalkboard. Draw a large circle on the chart paper, white board, or chalkboard. Label the center of this circle Solar System. Draw three lines from the large circle (like spokes on a wheel). Draw a circle on the

3 end of each line. Label one circle Moon, label one circle Objects in Space, and label one circle Planets. See the example below. Note: For students who are visually impaired, describe the bubble map.] Objects in Space Moon Solar System Planets Facilitator says: Your group will share the ideas from your discussion on the bubble map that I have drawn. When I call on your group, choose one person who will write one or two ideas that your group discussed about the moon. [Call on student volunteers, starting with a different group each time. Allow students to come to the chart paper, white board, or chalkboard to record ideas in the correct space on the bubble map. If necessary, the facilitator can write the ideas on the bubble map.] Different phases Controls the ocean s tides [Say the student responses aloud.] Facilitator says: When I call on your group, choose a different person who will write one or two of the ideas that your group discussed about objects in space. [Call on student volunteers. Allow students to come to the chart paper, white board, or chalkboard to record ideas in the correct space on the bubble map. If necessary, the facilitator can write the ideas on the bubble map.] Meteors are known as shooting stars. Comets are chunks of rock and ice. [Say the student responses aloud.] Facilitator says: When I call on your group, choose a different person who will write one or two of the ideas that your group discussed about the planets.

4 [Call on student volunteers. Allow students to come to the chart paper, white board, or chalkboard to record ideas in the correct space on the bubble map. If necessary, the facilitator can write the ideas on the bubble map.] Each planet has its own characteristics. It is possible that living things can survive on planets other than Earth. [Read the student responses aloud.] Facilitator says: You did a great job at sharing what you know about what makes up the solar system. Note: Make sure students arrive at the common understanding that: The solar system is made up of planets, moons, and other objects in space like meteors and comets. [Say and record the common understanding on the chart paper, white board, or chalkboard.] Note: The following section can be modified so that students are given more time to write and/or use their preferred writing tool. For students with physical disabilities, the facilitator can go to the student to retrieve the paper that will be brought to the circle. If the activity is given in a one-on-one, teacherstudent setting, then the student should share their responses with the teacher. Facilitator says: Astronomers are scientists who study objects in space. They use special tools to study these objects. I want to see what you know about astronomers and the tools that they use. Working with a partner, you are going to take a piece of paper and fold it into two sections. Label one of the sections, Astronomer. [Allow the students to form partner pairs or groups of three. Make sure that each pair/group has one piece of paper and a pencil.] [Write the word Astronomer on the chart paper, white board, or chalkboard.] Facilitator says: When I ask you to begin, you will write down everything that you know about astronomers and their tools. If you do not know anything about astronomers and their tools then you can write what I just told you about astronomers. I want you to come up with as many different ideas as you can about astronomers and their tools. When I call time, you have to stop writing; otherwise you will not be able to participate in the next round. Begin. Note: Student pairs can choose to have one or both people record the ideas and people in groups will select one person to record ideas. [Give the students approximately 45 seconds to write down everything that they know about astronomers and the tools they use.]

5 [After approximately 45 seconds, tell the students to stop writing. Ask the students to bring just the paper that they wrote on to an area of the classroom where they will all form a circle.] Facilitator says: Now we are going to share what you know about astronomers and their tools. I want you to lightly ball up the paper that you just wrote on and then gently toss it into the middle of the circle that we have formed. [Students should crumple up the paper and gently toss it into the middle of the circle.] Facilitator says: One person from each partner pair should now choose a paper that is close to you. [Allow students to choose a paper from the circle.] Facilitator says: With your partner, read what is written on the paper that you have chosen. Raise your hand when you are ready to share what is written on the paper. [Give students a few moments to read what is written on the paper. Choose a few student volunteers to read what is written on the paper.] Astronomers use tools to help them learn about objects in space like stars, moons, and planets. Astronomers use a telescope. A telescope helps astronomers see things that are very far away. Note: Share any of the above student responses that were not included in the discussion. Facilitator says: I have a picture of a telescope. This picture shows children using a telescope to study the night sky. [Show Figure 1: Telescope. Note: For students who are visually impaired, read the description below the photo.] Facilitator says: You and your partner should take the paper that you have chosen and return to your seat and we will complete round two to see what else you know about space. [Students should take the paper back to their desks to complete the next round. If necessary, tell students that it is not necessary for them to write on their original piece of paper.] Facilitator says: Astronomers also use a tool called a satellite. Satellites orbit around a planet or the moon. This is a picture of a satellite. [Show Figure 2: Satellite. Note: For students who are visually impaired, read the description below the photo.] [Write the word Satellite on the chart paper, white board, or chalkboard.]

6 Facilitator says: In a different section of the paper, write the word Satellite. Write down everything that you know about satellites. If you do not know anything about satellites then you can write what I just told you about them. I want you to come up with as many different ideas as you can about satellites and how they are used. When I call time, you have to stop writing. Begin Note: Student pairs can choose to have one or both record ideas and people in groups will select one person to record ideas. [Give the students approximately 45 seconds to write down everything that they know about satellites.] [After approximately 45 seconds, tell the students to stop writing. Ask the students to bring just the paper that they wrote on to an area of the classroom where they will all form a circle.] Facilitator says: Now we are going to share what you know about satellites. I want you to lightly ball up the paper that you just wrote on and then gently toss it into the middle of the circle that we have formed. [Students should crumple up the paper and gently toss it into the middle of the circle.] Facilitator says: One person from each partner pair should now choose a paper that is close to you. [Allow students to choose a paper from the circle.] Facilitator says: With your partner, read what is written on the paper that you have chosen. Raise your hand when you are ready to share what is written on the paper. [Give students a few moments to read what is written on the paper. Choose a few student volunteers to read what is written on the paper.] Possible student response (unscripted): Cameras are sometimes attached to satellites. Satellites are used so that pictures can be taken of faraway places and objects. Satellites help astronomers learn about things in space that they would not otherwise know about. Note: Share any of the above student responses that were not included in the discussion. Facilitator says: You all did a good job of recording and sharing your ideas about space. Please unfold the paper that you are holding and return it to me. [Collect the papers from the students.]

7 Facilitator says: In your performance task, you will be learning more about space. The group work you did today should help prepare you for the research and writing you will be doing in the performance task.

8 Ancillary Material Figure 1 Telescope Picture Description: Figure 1 shows two boys standing in a field in the evening. There is a moon and two stars in the sky. One boy is pointing to the two stars in the sky. The other boy is looking through a telescope at the moon. The telescope is a long tube with a smaller telescope attached on the top. The telescope on the top is a smaller tube. The larger telescope is held up by a three-legged stand. Photograph of a telescope (Image Number ), copyright by Superstock. Used by permission.

9 Ancillary Material Figure 2 Satellite Picture Description: Figure 2 is a picture of a satellite with a partial view of the moon in the background. The moon is round with craters on its surface. The satellite is a larger cylinder-shaped object with two panels on the sides. The panels are called solar arrays. Photograph of a satellite (Image Number 4029R-23750), copyright by Superstock. Used by permission.

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